MSG introduces changes to meal plans

Bella Lee, Staff writer

Over the past couple of years, one of the biggest concerns regarding Mercyhurst student life has been the meal plans on campus. For the 2019-2020 academic year, freshmen were required to have an unlimited plan, while upperclassmen could choose from plans ranging between 225, 150, 105, or 75 meals per semester or use Dining Dollars instead.

The next year, it was changed so that all incoming students, regardless of class ranking, would receive an unlimited plan. However, this led to some frustration among students and their families, as unlimited plans generally cost more.

Fortunately, following a survey being sent out last semester, MSG has worked closely with the administration to come up with a solution to be implemented in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Freshmen and sophomores would have access to what’s called a Laker Unlimited plan, which would consist of unlimited meals, $150 in Bonus Bucks, and five guest swipes per semester.

The junior and senior equivalent of this, called Hurst Unlimited, would have access to something called Flex Points, which are the same as Bonus Bucks except that students can additionally receive a 10% discount at the Coffee Bar and the Roost.

The Hurst Unlimited Plan contains unlimited meals, $300 of Flex Points, five guest swipes a semester, one Anchor Bag a week, and one Hello Hurst a week.

Bethany Jentz, junior Intelligence Studies and Political Science double major, said that the updates to the meal plans have been highly beneficial. “I have absolutely loved the addition of the Anchor Bags to our meal plans. I love snacking, and now I don’t have to go off campus and buy snacks for myself. I also appreciate how easy it is. I just order it in the morning and then pick it up after I go to the gym. I haven’t had the Hello Hurst kits yet but I can’t wait to try those as well,” said Jentz.

Juniors and seniors also have access to two other meal plans that are not unlimited. The Green Plan contains 225 meals, $150 in Bonus Bucks, one Anchor Bag a week, and one Hello Hurst a week, while the Blue Plan contains 150 meals, $300 in Bonus Bucks, and one Hello Hurst a week.

Hello Hurst Kits are prepped meal kits that you can cook in your apartments. One example of a Hello Hurst Kit is a chicken fajita dinner with tortillas, chicken breasts and an assortment of toppings.

These kits are very easy to cook as well, so students are not expected to be experienced with cooking.

One thing to remember with Anchor Bags is that you must bring your reusable green bag when you arrive at the Roost Express to pick up your order. This is a part of Mercyhurst’s mission to make the campus as environmentally friendly as possible.

The prices for the meal plan have not been released yet but keep your eye out because it should be coming out very soon.

Overall, the meal plan changes were a part of MSG’s attempt to listen to student concerns. Hopefully these changes will appease some of the concerns that were observed.

This effort took a lot of work from MSG President Lily Smith and the University Operations committee on student government as they hold monthly meetings with different departments on campus including Mercyhurst Dining.

This would not have been possible without the hard work of the students on MSG so be sure to thank them if you see them. There is still not the option to opt-out of a meal plan completely and that has come with some controversy from some students, but at this point the student body will take what they can get.